Charlena Garrison was born on a farm in Franklin County in 1948. She got a degree in nursing from Winston-Salem Teacherâs College in 1971. In 1989, she obtained a masterâs degree from UNC-Greensboro. In the course of her career, she worked for the VA, spent time in the oncology department of Baptist Hospital, and began teaching nursing and doing administrative work at Winston-Salem State in 1996.
Garrison describes her childhood and family background in the interview, specifically talking about her parentsâ interest in education and nursing, her childhood experience with healthcare, and the role of a public health nurse in her community. She describes the way of life in the 1950s for both tenant farmers and independent black farmers like her parents. Garrison discusses her familyâs involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. She explains her decision to become a nurse and talks about her education, focusing on the clinical rotations she completed during the course of her degree. Garrison covers her career as a nurse, a teacher, and an administrator, and she reflects on what she sees as the relationship between teaching and nursing.